"Sacred Cows," featuring Annie Seymour, a New Haven police reporter, is now out in paperback from Warner Books.
"Sacred Cows" won the Sara Ann Freed Memorial Award for a debut mystery novel. Sara Ann Freed was a longtime editor at Mysterious Press who passed away in June 2003, and the folks at Mysterious Press decided to honor her with the competition.
The book has received critical acclaim and a Gumshoe
Award nomination from Mystery Ink.
New Haven Herald police reporter Annie Seymour is tough, smart and has a self-deprecating sense of humor. She knows she's too cynical and a workaholic, but she's comfortable with that. She lives in a brownstone in the city's Wooster Square neighborhood, just around the corner from great white clam pizza.
When covering stories for the paper, Annie doesn't let herself get too close to the victims she encounters, so she can keep her objectivity. But when Yale student Melissa Peabody is found dead, Annie's investigation into the girl's secret life brings her closer to home than she expects.
Dick Whitfield, a young reporter, is constantly underfoot, and Annie's boyfriend, Detective Tom Behr, frustrates her with his reluctance to help her get her story. But private investigator Vinny DeLucia is also on the case. They join forces, and Annie realizes it could be the most dangerous story she's ever had to write.
Author Karen E. Olson delivers a lively plot, a likable heroine and good wit in her debut.
- Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
A knockout debut . . . Olson, a seasoned journalist, fills her fast-paced book with violent confrontations, excellent descriptions, brisk dialogue and a clever plot - with realistically flawed and likable characters caught in a web of lies and deceit.
- Ray Walsh, Lansing (Mich.) State Journal
Olson, a graduate of Roanoke College and the travel editor of the New Haven Register, knows newspapering, creates a memorable protagonist and spins a riveting tale. May her copy keep flowing.
"'Sacred Cows' is a boilermaker of a first novel by travel editor Karen Olson. Her lead character, Annie Seymour, is a police reporter on a New Haven newspaper, with a disreputable sailor's vocabulary, the courage of a mongoose and the instincts of an excellent investigator. . . . Olson writes with great good humor, but 'Sacred Cows' is also a roughhouse tale. Her appealing and intrepid protagonist and well-constructed plot make this book one of the best debut novels of the year."
"Olson writes with a light touch that is the perfect compliment for this charming mystery. The engaging Seymour is a wise and witty character who is good at her job and takes no lip from anyone. Here's hoping she returns for another go-round."
"One of the things which the late Sara Ann Freed did so well as editor at Mysterious Press was to keep her eyes peeled for new and original writers. So it's entirely fitting that the company's first winner of the Sara Ann Freed Memorial Award should be a writer who captures both of those qualities in her mystery debut - a sharply-written and beautifully plotted story set in New Haven, Connecticut, where author Karen Olson works as a travel editor and hopefully enjoys the best pizza in America."
- Chicago Tribune
"Olson writes a good story with snappy patter and likeable characters. I'm looking forward to the next Annie Seymour outing. I suspect Olson is only going to mature as a writer. Think Janet Evanovich, and you'll have some idea of Olson's style."
"It has been said that writers should write what they know, and Olson has done just that, with the result that the description of localities and politics of a small college town ring true. The story is fast-paced, with exciting action, interesting characters and a dash of romance to boot. This is a good first mystery, with strong plotting, solid dialogue and a real voice of authenticity."
"A stunning debut by Karen E. Olson is to be found in 'Sacred Cows.' New Haven reporter Annie Seymour is a tough cookie who is relentless in her pursuit of the killer of Yale co-eds. A complicated character, who we hope to see enriching future mysteries in a terrific series, this is a fresh voice on the mystery scene."
"Revealing the killer at last brings us to the adept way Ms. Olson has written her debut mystery novel, since it's no one the reader would suspect, although plenty of clues have been provided beforehand. Karen E. Olson hasn't made any of the usual errors to which new writers are often prone, and her handling of sentence structure and syntax is impeccable along with her understanding of the mystery plot. Three cheers and a hearty welcome to this fledgling author. 'Sacred Cows' is an excellent introduction to Ms. Olson's abilities."
- Alan Paul Curtis, Who-dunnit.com
"Spirited debut . . . the spunky, imperfect Anne is an engaging protagonist. Several other well-realized characters, some bovine humor and an amiable sense of the Yale/New Haven community round out this enjoyable first."
"This is a fantastic debut novel and an engaging, well-written mystery."
- Romantic Times, 4 stars
"The place is Yale, the crime is murder. Enter city beat reporter Annie Seymour - she's tough, she's raunchy and she's damn funny. I loved Karen E. Olson's debut mystery, 'Sacred Cows.'"
- Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, author of The Poppy Rice Mystery Series
"In this just-the-facts, ma'am journalism procedural, Karen Olson plunges readers into the salty-tongued world of cynical reporter sleuth Anne Seymour. Doing battle with a Type A lawyer Mom, a shady father, a cop boyfriend, a doofus colleague, unscrupulous developers and a sexy PI, Olson's slacker reporter spins from sinister to slapstick and back in the breadth of a page. Engaging."
- Denise Hamilton, bestselling author of "Savage Garden"